LCN Article
Festival 2022: Journeying Toward That Better World

January / February 2023

Rod McNair

In 2022, the Living Church of God organized 92 Feast of Tabernacles sites, with 11,434 brethren and guests attending around the world. As God commands in Leviticus 23:34 and 39, “The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days to the Lord…. On the first day there shall be a sabbath-rest, and on the eighth day a sabbath-rest.” What did we learn at this year’s Feast? And what elements of it will we take with us as we face 2023 and beyond? In this article, we’ll highlight some of the elements from Festival 2022 that we can draw strength and inspiration from in the months and years ahead.

Feast sites were chosen that highlighted the beauty of God’s creation. Sites included a forested, lakeside venue in Mol, Belgium; deer and other wildlife in the hill country of Boerne, Texas; paddy fields of Imphal, Manipur, India; sheep grazing in a nearby farm paddock at Eltham, Taranaki, New Zealand; and the view of lush green hills from the beach in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Coordinator Roger Herbert commented that “watching the full moon rise out of the African bush was indeed millennial” in Bela Bela, South Africa. God blessed His people with beautiful, millennial sites at which to worship Him as a family!

Worshipping God and Learning Together

We go to the Feast to worship God. He tells us that the purpose of the Feast is to come before Him and to learn to fear Him always (Deuteronomy 14:23). What did you learn at the Feast? What lessons are you carrying with you as we go forward into 2023?

The Feast of Tabernacles is filled with learning opportunities. We learn each day what it means to distinguish between the holy and the unholy (Ezekiel 22:26) by listening to instructions given in messages prepared by the ministry. If we are asking God to teach us, He will guide our minds to make connections in the messages we hear, and those nuggets can become profound life-changing “gems” we take with us the rest of our lives.

We all learn different things at the Feast—some very personal and some regarding things we need to work on. Brethren shared their experiences in the Festival survey given at the end of the Feast. A Feast-goer at Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, in response to the question, “What did you find especially meaningful at the Feast this year?,” noted, “Our dedication to stay focused on the Feast and shun anything that may interfere with it.” In answer to the same question, a Feast-goer from New Bern, North Carolina, commented “that we are all struggling with something. But God the Father called us to win, not fail. And if we don’t quit, God won’t quit on us, so don’t limit God and you will make it!” The urgency of the times we are in were impressed upon a Feast-goer in Langkawi, Malaysia, who observed, “It really hammered on me how much work needs to get done and how we all should contribute to reaching as many people as possible, especially with the times we are in and the things looming over the horizon.” (Note other observations shared by brethren, in the box on page 12.)

Every individual member of the Church is important to God, and He is fashioning each one of us to fill a need and position in His Kingdom. As Psalm 33:15 says, “He fashions their hearts individually.” Take a moment—even now—to reflect on the lessons you learned at the Feast and the spiritual truths you took home with you.

How Did You Serve?

Our God and our Savior Jesus Christ serve us—and the whole creation—constantly. Psalm 104 is a wonderful summation of how many ways God serves His creation. In verses 24 and 27 we read, “O Lord, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all. The earth is full of Your possessions…. These all wait for You, that You may give them their food in due season.” Without the bounty and generosity of our Father, we—and the rest of the creation—could not exist.

Perhaps that’s why God emphasizes the importance of serving: Serving is an attribute of His character. We are to become like Him. The Feast of Tabernacles is tailor-made to encourage us to serve God and serve one another, and the Feast in 2022 saw service abound among God’s people.

How did you serve at the Feast? Perhaps you helped in the Business Office? Maybe you drove a brother or sister to the Feast? Or, maybe, you just served by smiling and introducing yourself to those you did not know? Regardless of how it’s done, service is integral to a successful and satisfying Feast, individually and collectively.

Our Festival Site Coordinators related that the Feast this year was full of examples of service among God’s people. In Stilbaai, South Africa, many brethren offered to help drive those who didn’t have transportation, some even offering a spare car for use during the Feast. Coordinator Lawdi Ferreira noted, “No one was left out or excluded in any activity because of the love and generosity of others. It is wonderful to see God’s Spirit in action through the fruit of the members of the Body of Christ. Many elderly brethren commented about their appreciation of the young children who eagerly helped them every morning to carry their bags from the car park to the hall.”

Regarding the Nairobi, Kenya, site, Festival coordinator Simon Muthama said, “The brethren were a total delight—disciplined, friendly, and helpful. There was a palpable positive energy in the congregation all eight days. Those who served did a magnificent job and did their jobs with smiles and joy…. All in all, the Feast in Nairobi this year seemed to capture the essence of what the Feast represents: peace, harmony, generosity, unity, good fellowship, good health, good food, and good fun.” There were also many other ways that God’s people served one another.

So, how did you serve? As fulfilling, rewarding—and fun—as it was, remember that by doing so you were also laying up treasure in heaven (Matthew 6:20). Let it be a springboard for greater service toward our spiritual family in the months and years to come!

Growing Together as a Family

Going to the Feast is not about traveling to an attractive site and having a great vacation. It’s about service—as we’ve noted—but also about growing as a spiritual body and getting to know our family.

We are a spiritual family. That fact is, frankly, more real than the reality of our physical family, when we come to understand it. As 1 Corinthians 12:27 states, “Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.” What did you get out of fellowship this year? More importantly, what did you give in fellowship?

Many Festival coordinators commented on the special dimension of warm fellowship at the Feast in 2022. Coordinator Richard Franz noted, “There was something special about the fellowship this year. Many people commented on how warm, positive, and friendly everyone was, making this Feast extra special” (Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri). In Midway, Utah, many experienced an encouraging and unifying Feast. Festival coordinator Brandon Fall commented, “It seemed that a big spiritual highlight of the Feast in Midway was the love and unity the brethren displayed at the Feast. There was a lot of mixing and mingling of all ages. Brethren commented that there was an unusual amount of love shown toward one another at the site.”

The Church is truly one body, though separated on continents thousands of miles apart. Around the world, there were new sites, and sites where brethren were meeting together for the first time in years. Festival coordinator Lawdi Ferreira reported that Lake Kariba, Zambia, was the location of the first-ever Living Church of God Feast site in Zambia. In Georgetown, Guyana, brethren were greeted by Pastor Wil Pierre—who made, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the first ministerial visit to the country in three years. Batu was the Feast site for brethren in Indonesia, meeting together for the first time since 2020.

The Feast is a time to learn spiritual truths and grow in spiritual understanding. But undoubtedly, it also is prime time to grow closer as a body. The 2022 Feast was a tremendous encouragement to brethren around the world, knowing they are not alone but part of a greater, worldwide body.

Building Bonds with Brethren

Why do we have activities at the Feast? Is it just to pass the time? If activities are planned and executed well, they have the potential to bring the family together. Coordinators planned activities with themes as varied as there were sites around the world. From an afternoon of curling and board games in Drummondville, Quebec, Canada; to a night of trivia, bingo, and raffles in Sandusky, Ohio; from historical outings to Newgrange and the Hill of Tara in Trim, Ireland; to sandcastle-building instruction from professional instructors at South Padre Island, Texas. Activities to draw Feast-goers together were unique and varied. In LaGrange, Georgia, many visited the Biblical History Center. In Sakhangyi/Myaungmya, Myanmar, brethren participated in a Bible Quiz night; in Branson, Missouri, Feast-goers enjoyed a taco bar and game night.

One bonding activity in Poconos, Pennsylvania, was a Progressive Dinner. Coordinator Adam West explains, “Eighty guests travelled to host locations with around 30 hosts receiving them…. This encouraged brethren who may not have met many of the members to do so in a relaxed setting in various host locations both on- and off-site.” Jonathan Bueno, the coordinator for Florence, Oregon, related that a similar Progressive Dinner was also held there and was a highlight for many brethren.

The brethren in Batemans Bay, Australia, immersed themselves in God’s creation for one of their activities, adding to their sense of the wonder of God’s works: “The Kayak Challenge and Games not only showcased the beauty of God’s creation as we paddled through a maze of mangroves with stingrays gliding over the sand beneath, but also provided much fun and a sense of oneness with the team-building exercises.” At Great Malvern, United Kingdom, a favorite activity was brought back from pre-COVID Feasts. Coordinator Simon Roberts explains, “We had a Ceilidh Dance for the first time since 2019, attended by about 100 members and described as good, wholesome fun for everyone.” The brethren in Chiang Mai, Thailand, had family craft activities, of which “the primary purpose… was to bring everyone to work together as a team and to recapture the true family values” (Coordinator Htoowah Laybeh).

For those of us who spent the Feast in relative peace and safety, consider another note from Mr. Laybeh regarding the Kalaymyo, Myanmar, Feast site: “Due to the internal civil war, we were not able to organize an outing activity.” Despite the dangers of the surrounding area, the brethren rejoiced, enjoying their first Feast ever to have the comforts and conveniences of staying together in a hotel for the Feast. We can be grateful for God’s blessings, which come in many different ways!

How did you grow closer to other members of the body at the Feast? What is the purpose of activities? As assistant coordinator of the site in Lowlands, Tobago, David Grant noted regarding a game night activity, “The primary benefit was how it increased and improved our fellowship.” Let’s cherish the memories—and look forward to getting to know each other better, both in the years to come and for all eternity!

Shining Our Light and Loving Our Neighbor

The Feast of Tabernacles is a unique time to shine our light and demonstrate a taste of what the coming Millennium will be like for the whole world. It’s not uncommon for the staff at Festival venues and other establishments to comment on how courteous, polite, and helpful brethren are, and that is a testimony to the legacy of God’s Church. In Kingsburgh, KZN, South Africa, coordinator Christo Botha said, “One of the waiters commented that it was a pleasure to deal with our group.” In Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, coordinator Ron Poole said, “The manager of the auditorium expressed multiple times what a joy our people are, as well as willing to help move chairs, tables, etc. to assist the staff.” In San Diego, California, coordinator Rodger Bardo commented, “The personnel were so surprised in spite of challenges we faced that we were so pleasant to deal with.”

In St. Augustine, Florida, Festival coordinator James Sweat related that “the hotel concierge said that LCG brethren, ‘restored her faith and trust in religion.’ [A meal server] told us that she went to our website and ordered some booklets. A waitress at our breakfast table told Mr. Ames, ‘My husband and I went online and watched video of you.’” In Hervey Bay, Australia, brethren prayed for a four-month-old girl in the hospital with seizures, a granddaughter of one of the managers. Coordinator Anthony Mew observed, “During the Feast, her granddaughter was able to return home, well ahead of the doctors’ expectations. She spoke to the Festival Assistant and told him that she knew we’d been praying for them.” As our world spins out of control, many people are confused and discouraged, and sometimes we can be an encouragement in unusual and unexpected ways. The same Functions Manager later came to Mr. Mew, asking to speak with him. Mr. Mew explained, “I sat with her and listened and encouraged her. The next day she told me that she went home after our fellowship evening and had never felt such peace after seeing how our group conducted themselves. While she doesn’t understand many doctrines of the Church, she asked a number of times for us to email and keep in touch.”

Brethren, how we conduct ourselves in the world matters. We may never know what impact we might have on those we encounter. But let’s not underestimate the power of God to use our example in working in their lives. The staff in Williamsburg, Virginia, were also impressed with the brethren. Coordinator Lenny Bower related, “They never saw a room left just as clean as it was before we had meetings, so some staff assumed it hadn’t even been used and walked out without checking the trash bins. I also had multiple comments from hotel and catering staff at how joyous, polite, and respectful the brethren were to them all.” Coordinator Alvin Cumberbatch said that the manager of the hotel where many of the brethren stayed for the Pebbles Beach, Barbados, site “was struck by the warmth and friendliness of the brethren…. It was great to see the brethren letting their light shine in this way.”

Good examples are not for the purpose of pointing people to ourselves, but for honoring and glorifying God. One day—and it may be sooner than we think—they will come to understand and know that God. What a wonderful picture the Feast paints.

Challenges and Interventions

The Feast is not without its challenges. Just last year, many of our Feast sites had unique challenges as a result of COVID. This year, COVID was less of a factor, and international travel was opened for more countries, but there were still COVID challenges, as the site in Liverpool, Nova Scotia, experienced. Coordinator Shane Kruse reported, “This was perhaps one of the best Feasts for learning spiritual lessons. Things began perfectly with a very warm and close group excited to be together, to see each other face to face, and to be able to offer hugs. A few different illnesses occurred…. Then about 20 confirmed cases of COVID.” But with this trial also came the reminder to rely on God. “All these served to cement the brethren’s reliance on God and steadfastness in the face of some difficulties.”

The brethren in Stilbaai, South Africa, experienced power outages but also saw God’s hand in working through it. “Right before the Feast, everyone in South Africa faced Stage-4 to Stage-6 power outages, which means the power was scheduled to be off 3–4 times a day (2.5 hours at a time). At the start of the Feast, the load shedding was reduced to Level 2 which meant the power was scheduled to go off a maximum of once a day for 2.5 hours and on some days, there was no power outage. We hardly noticed the load-shedding during the Feast as we had no power outages on a number of days and services were not affected except for an expected very quick switch to generator power near the end of one service. The day after the Feast, the country was again moved back to Level-4 load-shedding with three scheduled power cuts per day. We thank God for His intervention and the answered prayers” (Lawdi Ferreira).

Weather can also be a major issue at the Feast. Assistant Coordinator James Populo noted, “On day three, while Mr. Ken Frank, our guest speaker, was giving his sermon, we survived a tornado in the area. According to radar the most severe line of the storm traveling west to east broke apart just before hitting the resort and reconnected just past the resort where tornadoes came down on the lake” (Fontana, Wisconsin).  Clearly, God’s hand was protecting the brethren, as the Feast site in St. Augustine, Florida, also experienced. Assistant Coordinator Ryan Dawson explained, “Hurricane Ian was supposed to hit the area just prior to the Feast. God intervened, leaving the site and surrounding area protected, so God’s people could keep the Feast in peace and rejoice where God placed His name!”

A Yearly Gift

The Feast of Tabernacles 2022 is over. But our journey is not over. As we make our way into 2023 and the challenges—and opportunities—that lie ahead, let’s remember the lessons learned in 2022. God gives us His Feast as a wonderful yearly gift to encourage, uplift, and inspire us. He uses it as a tool to teach us deeper spiritual truths about His way. He designed it to be a bonding experience where we become closer to our spiritual brothers and sisters. And He constantly reminds us that the Feast looks to a better world to come. God speed that day!

“What is one thing you learned at the Feast that you found especially meaningful?”

“How tightly the ministry is in ‘sync’ and how focused they all seemed to be in ‘going all out’ as our Kingdom is closer than we think” (La Grange, Georgia).

“The Feast is a dress rehearsal for the Millennium” (Pigeon Forge, Tennessee).

“Seeing the beautiful Behind the Work in Africa and seeing the work being done there was very encouraging. Heart-warming too!” (St. Augustine, Florida).

“I appreciated the focus on the Work that’s taking place in other less fortunate parts of the world. It’s amazing to see what great works can be accomplished when we set egos aside and focus on the Church’s commission” (San Diego, California).

“When you don’t sign up to serve, there are plenty of ways to help and serve. That makes a Feast, by serving” (Pigeon Forge, Tennessee).

“Slowing down and being present for each day, not over-planning activities, has made this Feast more meaningful” (South Padre Island, Texas).

“The concept of rejoicing and having joy being deeper than just being happy, being beyond a personality trait or short-term reaction” (Montego Bay, Jamaica).

“Details of the Millennium made thinking about it easier, as it wasn’t so vague in my mind” (St. Augustine, Florida).

“You have to reach out to people, and usually they respond positively and are friendly” (Red Deer, Alberta, Canada).

“We had an example shared from many years ago of a lady…. She said the whole town looked forward to the Church coming every year because the people lit up the area while they were there. It was so encouraging to hear the positive impact God’s people can have, and that it can be remembered for years” (Midway, Utah).

Feast in Bourne Texas
Boerne, Texas


Children's choir in Branson Missouri
Branson, Missouri


Congregation at San Juan
San Juan, Puerto Rico


Singing hymns at South Padre Island Texas
South Padre Island, Texas


The congregation at the Feast in La Campana Chile
La Campana, Chile


Feast-goers in Imphal, India
Imphal, India


feast-goers in Batu, Indonesia
Batu, Indonesia


services at the Feast in Drummondville, Canada
Drummondville, QC, Canada